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VAWA & Abused Persons Visas for Women, Men, Children & Parents

About VAWA Visas (Violence Against Women Act Visa)

With 20 years of experience obtaining visas for people around the world, San Francisco immigration attorney Angela Warren works to find the right visa solution, especially for VAWA (Violence Against Women Act) visa applicants. Our track record of success for VAWA visas include all types of people and circumstances, including:

  • Men and women who were abused by their spouses
  • Parents who are abused by their children
  • Children abused by their parents

An experienced immigration attorney like Angela Warren can be a great advantage for battered spouses, children or parents who want to file for a visa for themselves, without the abuser’s knowledge. With a VAWA visa, the victim can eventually obtain a green card and the right to permanently stay in the U.S. independent of their abuser.

About VAWA Visas (Violence Against Women Act Visa)

Available for women, men, children and parents, this visa allows a battered or emotionally-abused spouse, child or parent to file an immigrant visa petition under the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA). VAWA allows certain spouses, children, step-children and parents of U.S. citizens and permanent residents (green card holders) to file a petition for themselves without the abuser’s knowledge to seek safety and independence from the abuser. Your abuser will not be notified that you have filed for immigration benefits under VAWA.

As an additional means of protecting your privacy, U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) will deny any request for a change of address under your name unless it originates from you. This is another safeguard to help keep your abuser from learning about your self-petition.

The VAWA National Violence Hotline is 1-800-799-7233 or 1-800-787-3224 (TDD).

VAWA spouse eligibility requirements:

  • You must have been married or are still married to a U.S. citizen or permanent resident abuser.
  • Your marriage to the abuser was terminated by death or a divorce related to the abuse within the 2 years prior to filing.
  • Your spouse is still a citizen or resident or they lost or renounced citizenship or permanent resident status within the 2 years prior to filing due to an incident of domestic violence.
  • You believed that you were legally married to your abusive U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse, but the marriage was not legitimate solely because of the bigamy of your abusive spouse
  • You may also qualify if you have been abused by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse abroad while your spouse was employed by the U.S. government or a member of the U.S. uniformed services.
  • You are the parent of a child who has been subjected to abuse by your U.S. citizen or permanent resident spouse

If you are a child or a spouse, read more about eligibility requirements.

What Do You Need to Petition for a VAWA Visa and Green Card?       

To apply for a VAWA visa and green card, here’s what you’ll need to submit:

  • Form I-360, which helps you to obtain an immigrant classification for a visa in order to become eligible to apply for a green card. (As a VAWA self-petitioner you won’t have to pay a filing fee)
  • Form I-485, Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status. (This is to apply for a green card, once your Form I-360 is approved)
  • A copy of your birth certificate
  • Two passport-style photographs
  • A copy of your government-issued ID (with a photograph)
  • Form I-94, Arrival/Departure Record (a copy)
  • Form I-693, Report of Medical Examination and Vaccination Record
  • Evidence that children you list on your VAWA self-petition are your children, under age 21, and unmarried at the time that you file
  • Any other documentation and evidence demonstrating that you meet the qualifying criteria previously noted.

If you find this process to be difficult or confusing, you’re not alone. Many VAWA self-petitioners do, too. That’s why it’s wise for you to work with an immigration attorney. A knowledgeable attorney can explain how the entire process works, step-by-step, and show you exactly what documentation and supporting evidence you will need to ensure that your submissions for a visa and a green card are properly completed.

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Angela D. Warren

With more than 20 years of immigration and business immigration experience, Angela Warren has helped hundreds of individuals, families and businesses.

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What if Your Abuser Already Filed a Petition for a Green Card on Your Behalf? Does Your VAWA Self-Petition Start the Entire Process Over?

VAWA & Abused Persons Visas for Women, Men, Children, & Parents

When you file a petition for a green card you are given a priority date. Basically, this date gives you a place in line in order for you to get a visa to begin the process of applying for your green card. 

If your abuser already filed a petition (Form I-130, Petition for Alien Relative) on your behalf, you won’t have to lose that priority date when you go to file your VAWA self-petition. 

You are permitted to transfer the priority date of the preexisting Form I-130 to your Form I-360 self-petition, which can make it so that you maintain the existing priority date and avoid the additional time you would’ve otherwise had to wait.

Are Public Benefits Available to You as a VAWA Self-Petitioner?

If your Form I-360 is approved, you are eligible to get federal and state public benefits as a self-petitioning abused spouse or child (or a derivative beneficiary). However, be aware that if you’re the self-petitioning parent of an abusive child, you are ineligible to receive these public benefits.

What Are: U, S-5, & S-6 Visas?

U Visas – Available for Nonimmigrants

This category is set aside to provide immigration protections for victims of certain crimes who have suffered substantial mental or physical abuse as a result of that crime, and have assisted law enforcement and government officials in the investigation of the criminal activity. People who receive a U visa are allowed to remain in the U.S. Eventually, successful U visa applicants may receive a work permit and be allowed to apply for a green card.

S Visas – Witnesses and Informants Assisting Federal or State Government Agencies

The S visa classification is granted to people who act as witnesses or as informants to federal or state government agencies. An S-5 or S-6 visa may be granted to:

  • Individuals who possess critical and reliable information concerning criminal or terrorist organizations
  • Foreign nationals who are S visa holders, and are willing to share information with federal or state authorities
  • Individuals whose presence in the United States is critical to the success of a criminal investigation or prosecution
  • Immediate family members of S visa holders who are also eligible to receive clearance

You may be eligible for an S-5 visa if:

  • You possess reliable information regarding a crime or the pending commission of a crime
  • You are willing to share this information with law enforcement, or testify in court
  • Your presence is necessary to secure a successful investigation and/or prosecution of the case

How to Get a VAWA, U, S-5 or S-6 VisaYou may be eligible for an S-6 visa if:

  • You possess reliable information regarding a terrorist organization or terrorist plot
  • You are willing to share this information with law enforcement, or testify in court
  • You are eligible to receive an award from the State Department for providing the information

How to Get a VAWA, U, S-5 or S-6 Visa

To start the process of obtaining a VAWA, U, S-5, or S-6 visa, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

Obtaining a VAWA visa can be a complicated and time-consuming process, but using an experienced immigration attorney, like Angela Warren, can help improve your chances of approval. To take the first steps toward getting a VAWA visa, contact Warren Law Firm to schedule a consultation.

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